Phormium tenax variegata variegatum or variegated New Zealand flax is a clump-forming, evergreen perennial. It is a variegated cultivar of phormium tenax with wide, strappy leaves that are green with cream margins.
Phormium tenax variegatum – Variegated New Zealand Flax is another excellent clump forming Phormium, this cultivar grows from 3- 4m tall by 2m or more wide, with robust, spear-like, grey-green leaves, glaucous on the reverse, and irregularly margined and banded with creamy yellow.
A very dramatic and striking plant for the garden, and as with all Phormium’s, looks just as good through the cold winter months when the year, with its dramatic spear-like foliage really stands out. It will tolerate any soil, but is happiest in moist, free-draining humus rich soil. Give this grand plant plenty of space as with time it becomes enormous – love it!
Phormium tenax variegata – New Zealand Flax
Common Name: Variegated New Zealand Flax Latin name:Phormium Phormium tenax variegatum Tenderness Rating: Hardy down to about -8C though lower if the foliage tied up for the winter, especially if also protected with horticultural fleece if exceptionally cold weather is forecast – in most winters this will not be necessary. Ease of growing: Easy. Position: Prefers full sun position. Soil Condition: dry to moist, humus rich well drained soil and respond well to a high nitrogen feed in the spring.
The leaves are about 3 inches wide and grow as long as 1.8 metres. And, in late spring, it produces orange-red flowers on large panicles that might extend above the foliage.
Even more, it can be used as an architectural plant in city and courtyard gardens or cottage gardens.
How to grow phormium tenax variegata
Phormium tenax variegata, like most other phormium species, is propagated by division in early spring. It grows well in organically rich, consistently moist, well-draining soil when positioned in full sun to partial shade. Although it can tolerate dry conditions in coastal regions, it looks best when it is watered regularly.
You can prune it to remove dead or damaged foliage and keep your plant looking vibrant and also for winter protection. Simply deadhead your phormium plant at the end of autumn before the frost comes and mulch heavily in winter to protect your plant from frost damage.
Where should I position phormium tenax variegata in my garden?
Just like most other cultivars of phormium, variegated New Zealand flax thrives when in full sun. Exposure to the full sun brings out the best foliage colour and keeps your plant looking vibrant, colourful, and healthy. A south or east-facing aspect is the most appropriate for this plant.
How tall does phormium tenax variegata grow and spread?
It has a medium growth rate and will grow to about 1.8 to 2.4 metres tall with an almost equal spread. It is relatively large but smaller than its non-variegated counterparts.
What kind of soil does phormium tenax variegata need?
Variegated New Zealand flax will grow well in clay, sand, chalk, or loamy soil as long as the soil is kept moist and has good drainage properties.